Jun 7, 2022 - Health

CDC on monkeypox travel: "Practice enhanced precautions"

Health workers screen passengers arriving from abroad for Monkeypox symptoms at Anna International Airport.
Health workers screen passengers arriving for monkeypox symptoms. Photo: Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's current monkeypox guidance stands at "level 2," suggesting travelers take enhanced precautions to stay safe as global cases surpass 1,000.

Why it matters: A "level 2" alert is the second-highest travel advisory alert level from the CDC. A "level 3" alert would caution travelers to "avoid nonessential travel" altogether.

The big picture: There are at least 1,019 monkeypox cases across 29 different countries as of Tuesday, the CDC said. There are at least 30 cases in the United States.

  • But monkeypox, a cousin to smallpox, is making headway internationally as the United Kingdom has at least 302 cases and Spain has close to 200 reported cases.

Details: In its advisory, the CDC said the "risk to the general public is low," but people should seek medical care if they "develop new, unexplained skin rash (lesions on any part of the body), with or without fever and chills."

  • If you are sick, the CDC suggests avoiding contact with others.
  • Travelers should also avoid contact with people who are sick, including those with "skin lesions or genital lesions," the CDC said.
  • The agency recommends people avoid contact with dead or living wild animals, including rodents, monkeys and apes.
  • Travelers will want to avoid eating or prepping meat from wild animals or using products that come from wild animals in Africa, the CDC said.
  • If travelers are sick, travelers should avoid public transportation until they are cleared to do so by public health and healthcare professionals, the CDC said.
  • Per CNBC, the CDC originally recommended travelers wear face masks to prevent the spread of monkeypox, but that point was later removed.

Yes, but: The CDC has not responded to Axios' request for clarification when the advisory was initially issued.

Worth noting: The CDC does not currently list different alert levels for specific countries, which is something it does for COVID-19, per CNN.

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